Education Week‘s Stephen Sawchuk has written an interesting story about a massive reform effort going on in New Hampshire designed to personalize students’ learning--allowing them more access to alternative education, distance-learning opportunities, and learning opportunities outside of school, like internships and apprenticeships. Educators hope that tying in curriculum to real-world applications will increase student engagement and ultimately boost graduation rates, says the article.
Making learning relevant to students’ lives is a huge part of increasing motivation, and I think this is an ambitious and thoughtful effort in that respect, although I do wonder how it will all pan out in reality. As the article mentions, this effort requires a fundamental change in the typical high school institution, which can be very difficult to do. Also, most schools in New Hampshire are fairly small and may not have the resources to devote to these endeavors, according to the article.
Despite some of the practical considerations, I am hopeful about the potential impact of this effort, which puts student motivation right at the heart of academic improvement.
A version of this news article first appeared in the Motivation Matters blog.